It is mandatory that a CNA training program should have at least 51 hours of theory classes and 24 hours of clinical training as the certification exam has two papers. The CNA clinical skills test refers to evaluation of the proficiencies taught during the clinical training; these are CNA practical abilities that you have to use when you assist patients in healthcare.
The clinical skills test is conducted by a state nurse aide examiner who randomly picks three to five tasks which you have to perform within 25 to 30 minutes. Here are some tips to ease you through the CNA clinical skills test:
- Before the test You must reach the evaluation center 15 to 30 minutes before the scheduled time for the clinical test; it varies from state to state, so you have to check with the state health department. Here is a list of basic requirements when you arrive at the center:
- You must carry the identification card issued to you by the state body and show it to the instructor on arrival; the I-card will have your photograph with signature
- The examiner will ask you to empty your pockets and keep your belongings at a place the examiner specifies
- The instructor will show you around the testing room and you will be given a chance to check the equipments you will need during the paper. You can try using the equipments so that you are used to their functionality.
- Check that the supplies required to perform each craft is available in the testing room
- The examiner will give you a card which will enlist the skills you have to perform during the test. Read the card carefully, listen to the instructions given by the examiner and ask questions to clear any doubts.
- The examiner will inform you when to start with the profeciencies and when to be a patient; act accordingly. He/ she will also inform you about the time within which you have to finish performing all the tasks.
- During the test During the practical paper you have to follow certain code of conduct as per the requirements of your state. Following are some of the basic set of requirements during the eveluation:
- Most of the practical papers are conducted on dummy patients who are students like you or on mannequin, so you don’t have to ask them whether or not they need care. You need to perform the skills to exhibit that you have acquired them and can serve as a certified nursing assistant.
- As you must have read the instruction card you know the skills you have to perform; you must execute the craft in the sequence mentioned on the card. You can refer to the instruction card during the exam to avoid any confusion.
- Greet the acting patient or mannequin as you would do to a patient and explain the skills and the procedures involved
- Assume that you are performing each tast on a different patient and greet them every time before you perform the next proficiency
- If you think that you have made some mistake and need to correct it, inform the instructor and then perform the correct procedure
- It is mandatory that you wash your hands before and after performing every skill. Ensure that you use gloves when performing a tasks involving body contact except for feeding if it is one of the skills you have to perform; while feeding use a spoon or fork as required.
- Another profeciency which you will have to perform is taking vital signs. You will be given a form to record the signs, so after taking measurement don’t forget to record it on the form and sign it.
- After each skill review the instructions to check if you have missed out on something; once you are satisfied that the task is performed as required say that you are done with the it. After announcing that you are done with the skill you cannot make any correction, so it is important that you cross check it in advance.
- The side rails are not taken into consideration during the test so if the bed has side rails you may chose not to use them; this may vary in some states so follow the regulations of your state.
- Safety is one of the major aspect the examiner checks during the practical test. If he/ she find that you have done a major mistake in that regards the evaluator will ask you to make corrections. You will not be graded for the correction because the instructor has notified you what to correct; so be focused on the safety aspect of each skill that you perform.
- The key is to remain calm and focused and carry out a CNA skills review after performing each task. The examiners are aware that you may be anxious and may give you a hint or two. But remember that the prime responsibility of the examiner is to evaluate your skills and grade you accordingly, so don’t expect him to teach you something. It is all up to your abilities and procedures to pass the paper.
Once you have cleared your theory and CNA clinical skills test you will have to prepare a resume and hence you must be aware of CNA resume skills so that you can make your job search smooth and land into a job of your liking.